Long-Awaited ‘Google Drive’ Cloud Storage Service Finally Launches

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It’s here, it’s here, it’s finally here. Google’s oft-rumored, long-awaited “Google Drive” is ready.

Even Google acknowledged the mystique that’s been surrounding the product, writing, “Just like the Loch Ness Monster, you may have heard the rumors about Google Drive. It turns out, one of the two actually does exist.” That’s a cold, hard slap at Nessie fans everywhere, Googs.

(MORE: 5 Reasons to Give Google Drive a Shot)

If you’ve been expecting something similar to the perennial cloud storage favorite, Dropbox, you’re in for a treat. So far, I’ve downloaded a standalone program that created a “Google Drive” folder and – wouldn’t you know it – stuck it right underneath the Dropbox folder in my Favorites menu. The Google Drive folder then quickly filled up with my Google Docs files, and double-clicking on a file eventually opened up said document in my web browser.

You can download software for Windows and Mac PCs, along with Android devices, though Google says, “We’re also working hard on a Drive app for your iOS devices,” so iPhone and iPad users will have to wait a bit.

Check out Google’s video for a rundown of some of the features:

As far as pricing goes, everyone gets five gigabytes for free – Dropbox offers two gigabytes free, for comparison’s sake. Says Google, “You can choose to upgrade to 25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month or even 1TB for $49.99/month.”

This new pricing structure wipes out Google’s previous account storage offerings, which started at just $5 per year for 20 extra gigabytes. Current users will be able to keep their old accounts intact provided they don’t upgrade, downgrade or change the credit card on file. Free advice: if you have an old plan, stick with it. I’m no math whiz but $5 per year is probably less than $2.49 per month for close to the same amount of storage.

Even the new pricing structure is a deal compared to Dropbox, though, which offers 50 gigabytes for $100 per year or 100 gigabytes for $200 per year. Google offers 25 gigabytes for around $30 per year, 100 gigabytes for around $60 per year or one terabyte for $600 per year.

Introducing Google Drive… yes, really [Google]

(MORE: Why a Google-Powered Online Hard Drive Could Be a Big Deal)

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